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Women Army officers criticise Centre’s note

Serving women officers in the Army have condemned the Centre’s written note in the Supreme Court, which said they were physically weaker than men and not suitable for command appointments, as evidence of a “regressive mindset” within the establishment.

The women officers, represented by senior advocate Aishwarya Bhati, filed written submissions before the Supreme Court countering the note of the government about how women were not suitable for command appointments, compared to their male counterparts. The government tried to justify its argument by putting forth reasons of national security, operational effectiveness, battlefield scenario and capture by enemy etc.

The officers termed the note “misconceived and based on misleading and erroneous basis”.

“The argument that women officers are not trainable in specialisation envisaged for permanent commission of women officers, skewed cadre structure, lower physical capabilities etc. are grounds/excuses that follow the pattern of regressive mindset, rather than being based on experience or statistics,” said their 19-page written submissions.

They said demonstrated record, experience and quantifiable statistics provide quite a different picture from the “regressive and obstinate reasoning given in the note of the Union of India”. The written submissions refer to Squadron Leader Minty Agarwal.

“She is a Fighter Controller with the Indian Air Force. She was part of the team that guided Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman during the 2019 Balakot airstrike carried out by the IAF. In August 2019, she was awarded the Yudh Seva Medal by President of India, becoming the first woman to receive it,” the submissions said.

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